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When I first brought my twins home, the thought of taking care of them by myself was terrifying. Up until the point of coming home, I had assistance from the NICU team around the clock. Soon I would be the sole provider around the clock.
Sure, I am a married woman so my husband would be there sometimes. But between his work and sleep, I was about to have two little beings depend on just me for near 20 hours a day most days.
When we came home, the plan was he would take the next day off work. Unfortunately between him taking time off during my hospital stay, and then a few days after the twins were born, we couldn’t afford him to take off more time. So I had one day to figure out how the hell I was going to survive while keeping two infants alive.
Well, the day of help came and went all too quickly. That is something I have noticed since having my twins- days do go by so fast. I am sure it is like that for most moms because you always hear ‘don’t blink, they’ll be grown before you know it’. It’s so true! I find myself saying ‘oh crap, its time already?!’ almost every day.
Anyways, my husband was up and getting ready to leave for work and I was dreading them both waking up at the same time screaming for food. So I got up too and made their bottles before they woke so I would be ready.
Luckily, since they were NICU babies, they were on a pretty good schedule. They woke every three hours to eat, so I could count on when they would wake up.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”04cy_” via=”no” ]The hardest thing about being a twin mom is having to listen to one cry while you take care of the other.[/ctt]
I knew they were going to wake up soon, so after I prepped the bottles I also got the diapers and wipes together.
For that first feeding, Caeden woke up first so I changed and fed him and he went right back to sleep. Then I woke Kendall and did the same with her. Okay. I did it. First round COMPLETE. I was very impressed with myself.
For more on how I feed both babies at the same time, click here.
As the day went on, I realized that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Since they are so little, they sleep A TON. So while they were sleeping, I would do this and that and just watch the clock.
The chaos starts when they both wake up at the same time. And that still holds true at almost three months. The hardest thing about being a twin mom is having to listen to one cry while you take care of the other. As a twin mom, I have gotten ‘over’ the sound of them crying a lot faster than I think a singleton mom would. I had to. And you will have to, too. You are only one momma and you will always be out numbered.
Here are 6 tips I have for taking care of newborn twins by yourself:
Down time is power time. Right after your twins fall asleep, get some stuff done. Wash bottles, take a shower, restock supplies, make a snack, prep for bath time. I quickly learned that if I needed to get something done before the twins woke back up, I needed to get it done right then. No more five more minutes. Before you know it, they will be awake again and you won’t be ready for them. Save yourself. Prepare prepare prepare!
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2. Schedule your Twins
You’ll hear this from everyone. Schedules are your new best friend! If you were never a scheduler before, well, welcome to the club! If you were (un)lucky enough to have NICU babies, STICK TO THEIR SCHEDULE. Gods gift to you during that horrible time was someone ELSE getting them on a schedule. But to make a schedule yourself, babies need to eat every 3ish hours for the first couple months. See when the babies are waking up, and make a schedule. If you are home and baby wakes up at 6am, looks like you’re on a 6-9-12-3 schedule (like me!).
Always always ALWAYS wake the other baby if they don’t wake on their own for feeding time. The last thing you want is to have TWO baby schedules to handle. Yep. That means you’re going to have to break the rules and wake a sleeping baby. You’ll learn pretty quick, like I did, that most mom rules don’t apply to twin moms.
3. Schedule Yourself
After your work with the twins is done, you need to schedule your life around their schedule. This means a LOT of fore thought. I am always thinking twenty steps ahead. Not even kidding. This morning, I was actually trying to plan out the week and a half of activities because we’re taking our first big trip (2 and a 1/2 hours D: )to see my mom. I was trying to figure out times for this and that and when everything would need to happen. That is now your life. And if you have a spouse, particularly a male spouse, they will not think like this. They think one step behind. Maaaaybe one step forward on a great day. You will be the one stuck in a spin of okay.. its 9pm now. That means that for their 10 AM appointment tomorrow I have to get up at their 6 AM feeding so we can do all that and I can get dressed and then feed at 9 AM before we have to leave.
Yes. It is exhausting. But you can do it. Your mind will just do it for you.
If you walked into my house at any given time of the day, odds are I have at least one baby in my arms. That means I do a lot of things one handed. I am currently working on my one handed laundry folding skills. But honestly, multitasking is something that will just happen. You gotta let it. Someday’s it is the only way dishes get done or laundry gets washed. I am hoping that by always carrying a baby I get some rad arm muscles. Hasn’t happened yet though.
5. Stay Organized
By organized, I don’t mean color coded closets and labeled drawers. Just basic organization such as this is where diapers are, this is where the tub goes, clothes go here. And keep things in their places. Life alone with twins will go by much smoother when you can run upstairs, know exactly where each ones clothes are, grab another load of diapers, and be on your way.
6. Get Outside
My last bit of advice for you- get outside. Leave the house. Taking care of two infants takes a lot, damn near everything out of you, go get some fresh air. The best part of my day is actually taking a long walk in the cool air and not having to worry about everything else. Yes, getting them out the door is hard. There will probably be a lot of tears from them (and you) but once you’re outside you will feel a lot better.
All in all, you CAN do this by yourself. No, I am not completely alone so I do not know how that would feel, but I am alone for the vast majority of it. I hope my tips help you conquer twin life regardless of being alone or not!
Let me know what you think of the tips I have and if you have any others to share!